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The Return of the Disaster-Class Hero
Book 1, Epilogue 26 - Devil's Tower (2)

Book 1, Epilogue 26 - Devil's Tower (2)

Time continued to pass, and soon, it was the fourth year since Lee Gun appeared in the world; it was January 2005.

Three years had passed since Lee Gun and Hugo had become friends, and the world had changed a lot in that time.

[Lee Gun was the one who stood out among the thirteen.]

[Lee Gun once again recovered land for humanity!]

Thousands of hostages taken by the monsters had been given a new lease on life thanks to Lee Gun. He had also taken back half of the land taken by the monsters.

This was the period when Lee Gun had gone on his various famous raids. The four great raids that would be posted on YouTube in the future had occurred during this period.

Moreover, Hugo had gained his “Prophecy” ability, and it had been very helpful to Lee Gun. While Hugo’s prophetic ability didn’t work when it came to Lee Gun, Hugo could see where monsters would show up and the direction in which they would run away.

Of course, Red Eye had appeared in 2004 and had overwhelmed humanity. Yet people continued to praise Lee Gun.

“Lee Gun and the twelve Zodiac Saints will somehow be able to kill Red Eye!”

“They are the hope of humanity!”

“Lee Gun! I believe in Lee Gun!”

Lee Gun had a foul mouth, and he had a habit of sometimes kicking leaders with his foot. However, no one cared about that.

“With Lee Gun, it feels as if we won’t lose.”

“That’s right. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. He always comes back alive.”

“According to what he has achieved, he is the strongest person.”

However, the public was unaware of something: the other Zodiac Saints were getting stronger, and as Lee Gun’s exploits grew, he was getting weaker.

Lee Gun was like a car tire that kept being worn down with more use. He was like a boat that broke through stormy waters to take everyone to safety, yet the waves would batter the vessel into becoming junk. He was the only one taking damage.

On January 1st, 2005, Lee Gun’s health problem became a topic of discussion at a press conference that announced the raid of the final boss called Red Eye—a monster that made the world groan.

“What? All thirteen, including Lee Gun, will enter the Devil’s Tower??!”

“Yes. We can no longer stand back and do nothing about Red Eye.”

“In one week, all thirteen of us will enter Red Eye’s nest! We plan on entering the Devil's Tower.”

The twelve Zodiac Saints’ words caused a commotion amongst the reporters.

“Thirteen? Didn’t Lee Gun suffer an injury recently? Hasn’t he checked himself into a hospital?”

“Yet you’re talking about raiding Red Eye…!”

In response to the commotion, Jean-Louis laughed as he picked up the microphone. “I know why you are all worried, but the one who called for this raid was none other than Lee Gun.”

“What?!”

“It was a month ago when Lee Gun had to be hospitalized. In the battle, Red Eye expended a lot of its power. That is why it flew to its new nest to recuperate. This action is unprecedented. It’s an opportunity for us to kill it once and for all.”

Stevens continued from where Jean-Louis left off. “Lee Gun isn’t here right now, but he believes that this is the only opportunity we’ll get to kill Red Eye. We agree with his opinion.”

“Then…!”

“Yes. We will come back with the severed head of Red Eye.”

When he made that declaration, people cheered with tears in their eyes.

At that moment, one of the twelve Zodiac Saints spoke up.

“Are you sure Lee Gun is ok?” It was Kevin, who looked leery.

His reaction was expected since Lee Gun had suffered a significant injury when he fought a life-and-death battle against Red Eye only a month ago.

The twelve Zodiac Saints hadn’t been present at the scene, so they had no idea how weakened Red Eye had become.

“Will Lee Gun be able to do this?” Kevin worriedly asked.

The Taurus Saint Ivan laughed for an entirely different reason. “Right. In recent days, all he does is clean up after us. Are we even sure he’ll be helpful to us in the Devil’s Tower?”

“Hey.”

“What? Did I say anything wrong?”

Everyone became silent when they heard Ivan’s words.

In the past year, Lee Gun’s body had worsened to a worrying degree. The raid to Russia had occurred three years ago, and Lee Gun hadn’t been in great shape ever since. In the past year, Lee Gun was barely able to participate in fights.

Ivan, who disliked Lee Gun, laughed as if Lee Gun deserved it. “An attack from a low-rank monster sent him flying. In fact, he’s a hindrance now. It has gotten so bad that even the cat bastard became angry. He told Lee Gun to sit out the battle. Am I the only one who remembers that?”

When the spotlight was put on Stevens, he let out a sigh. He did say something like that to Lee Gun, but… “Hey. At the time, I….”

“He’s a knife sharpener now! All he does is fix our weapons!”

“What? Knife sharpener?” As a fellow blacksmith, Sergeyevich gave Ivan a side-eye.

Ivan spoke as he patted Sergeyevich. “I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about Lee Gun.”

“….”

“Anyway, I don’t mind taking Lee Gun to the Devil’s Tower, considering our opponent. However, we are taking him as a knife sharpener. I want everyone to be on the same page when we come up with a plan tomorrow. It’s annoying that he’s being treated as an equal to us.”

The Sheep Saint Yang Wei, who was in charge of gathering supplies, tilted his head in confusion. “Even if Lee Gun is no longer a fighter, isn’t he useful?”

Lee Gun was a demon when it came to sensing things. It wasn’t something they should discard.

Sophie agreed with that. “The only one capable of guiding us through the Devil’s Tower is Lee Gun. That damn man was the one to notice that Red Eye has been weakened too.”

“Guide? Are you telling me that we should give that knife sharpener the role of leader?!” Ivan became angry and agitated.

Jean-Louis talked him down. “Please calm down. When one has to climb to the top of Everest, one needs a sherpa.”

“!”

Jean-Louis smirked. “We are merely asking him to be a guide. Lee Gun should be able to do it.”

Everyone nodded. While Lee Gun wouldn’t be helpful in a fight, he would be perfect as a guide. He could tell them which monsters were dangerous and which path would be optimal.

While they didn’t want to admit it, Lee Gun had beast-like senses. He was the best among them. It would be fine if Lee Gun entered the Devil’s Tower as a guide instead of a fighter.

So Kevin, who had broached the topic first, agreed to that arrangement.

However, two Zodiacs disagreed. Hailey and Hugo were adamant that Lee Gun shouldn’t enter the Devil’s Tower.

Hailey already knew that the Devil’s Tower belonged to the Time monarch. Then there was Hugo…

‘He’d have a tough time guiding us in his state.’

Hugo knew better than anyone about the state of Lee Gun’s body.𝐢𝙣𝓃𝘳𝙚𝐚𝙙. 𝓬𝐨𝑚

‘Gun is at a stage where he can barely hear the sound of a car’s honk.’

Not too long ago, when Hugo had met up with Lee Gun, Lee Gun had almost been hit by a car. Hugo clenched his eyes shut.

‘If he were his normal self, he could dodge a car in his sleep.’

On the other hand, Lee Gun might do ok in a monster raid. While his hearing and other bodily functions were deteriorating, he could still sense the energy of monsters very well. However, Hugo didn’t think that would last long either.

* * *

Korea.

“Gun. Are you home?”

Normally, Lee Gun and Hugo traveled around the world through land routes while taking care of commissions. However, a year ago, they had decided to acquire a house. As Lee Gun’s body worsened, he could no longer travel far for raids.

‘Thanks to this decision, his body has gotten much better.’

It seemed Jaewon was also given a room.

Anyway, Hugo looked after Lee Gun while they lived in the same house.

Hugo opened the door to the house. “Gun. The press conference is done. I should’ve been live on TV. Did you see— What the hell? He’s sleeping.”

Lee Gun had been watching the press conference using the TV, but currently, he was lying down on the sofa.

After seeing this, Hugo went to the fridge. He was hungry, so he spoke as he took out some food. “Anyway, we’re doing as you recommended. We came to a decision to move in a week. We’ll meet up tomorrow to create a plan. You should... Gun?”

Hugo tilted his head in puzzlement when he got a closer look at Lee Gun. His face froze when he confirmed something.

He headed toward Lee Gun. “Gun?”

Hugo desperately shook Lee Gun to wake him up. “Gun! Wake up! Breathe! Gun!”

Hugo shook Lee Gun and even slapped his cheek, but Lee Gun didn’t budge at all. It was more than not moving. Lee Gun wasn’t breathing despite Hugo thumping him.

Finally, the hand holding the remote control fell to the ground.

Kwahng!

When the hand fell to the ground like the hand of a corpse, Hugo felt his heart sink. “Gun!!”

His face turned pale from fright. He was like a madman trying to wake up Lee Gun. “Gun. Hey, Gun!! Wake up! Gun! Please!”

It was unclear how long he tried to tap him awake. In the end, a desperate Hugo was about to call for an ambulance.

“Damn it… What the hell? Why are you being so noisy?”

“Gun!”

Relieved, Hugo threw aside his phone.

Recently, the thought of Lee Gun never waking up from his sleep had been heavy on Hugo’s mind. “You surprised me! You didn’t wake up, so I was about to call for an ambulance— Kuhk!”

“Hey. You want to die? Don’t overdo it, idiot. Why the hell would you call for an ambulance?”

Hugo was dumbfounded after being hit by Lee Gun. “Don’t overdo it? Hey! Are you kidding me? You weren’t breathing right now! You wouldn’t wake up even when I tried to wake you up!”

“Why are you being like this? Don’t do something unnecessary like that ever again.”

“Unnecessary….” Hugo almost cursed, but held himself back. That wasn’t important right now.

“Gun. I don’t want you to enter the Devil’s Tower,” he said.

“What?”

“I don’t want you to go! Your body isn’t in a state where you can participate in the raid!”

“What the hell did you just say?”

“You fell into a manhole not too long ago because you couldn’t see the under-construction sign! Even your eyesight has deteriorated, yet you want to go to the nest of the boss monster? Do you not realize what kind of place that is— Ahhhk!!”

“Shut up. It was temporary. It won’t get in the way of me killing monsters.”

“Damn it!”

In the end, Hugo went looking for a doctor. He wanted to check if what Lee Gun had said was true and if Lee Gun was really ok.

After going through several days’ worth of tests, Hugo heard something shocking.

“What? What did you just say right now?”

“I was talking about Lee Gun-nim’s lifespan. He has only a year left.”

“What?”

“I also received data from Sophie-nim. Have you ever taken a close look at it?”

The doctor somberly looked at Hugo. “He looks fine on the outside, but his body has aged. It’s already over 80 years old. It’s a miracle that he’s alive when you look at his organs… At best, he has one year… I’m saying one year, but he won’t last a month in reality.”

“A month…! He still has five years left…!”

“He continued to kill monsters during that time.”

“…!”

“In his state, it would have been painful for him to kill the monsters. I can’t even imagine how much pain he would have been in.”

Hugo looked shell-shocked as frozen.

The doctor let out a bitter laugh. “Of course, he has less than a month if he continues to fight monsters like he always does.”

“That means…!”

“Please do not worry. If he gives up on fighting monsters, he could extend his life by five years. He just has to live a normal life. Moreover, he’s an awakened being. It might be possible to extend his life further by ten, twenty, or maybe thirty years.”

It meant Lee Gun had less than one year if he fought monsters. But if he lived as a normal human, he could live for several dozen years at the very least.

“Hugo-nim. You do realize what’s the right choice, right?”

Of course, he knew.

“Devil’s Tower… From humanity’s perspective, it would make us feel more relieved if he went… However, it would be best for him not to go. He’s already like this, killing low-level monsters… If he goes into the Devil’s Tower…”

Hugo nodded.

‘If he goes there, he might die.’

If Lee Gun retired, he would be able to extend his lifespan. He could live to a ripe old age.

After learning this, Hugo was happy. He was going to pass this information on to Lee Gun when he received a text.

- All thirteen of us will enter the Devil’s Tower as planned.

- We are going to leave Jaewon behind, so you’re in charge of packing our stuff.

Hugo gritted his teeth.

* * *

The day before they would enter the Devil’s tower, Lee Gun had gone to a pub to eat chicken. Hugo said to him, “Gun. You want to see my child, right? That’s why you shouldn’t go to the Devil's tower.”

Lee Gun looked dumbfounded. “What the hell? You said you won’t marry. Did you have an accident?”

“What? Have you lost your… Ah. Whatever! You and I have to enter a retirement home together! Instead of going to the Devil’s Tower, let’s join a retirement home!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Gun.” In the end, Hugo couldn’t hold it in.

“You’re going to die tomorrow.” With a grave expression, he spoke as a fortune-teller.

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The Return of the Disaster-Class Hero Book 1, Epilogue 26 - Devil's Tower (2)